What is the history behide the conflicts between sufis and those in the Islamic world that believe that the sufis are heretics?
Much of the conflict has to do with the perception that the Sufis are heretics. Some of the reasons for this include:
1. Allegorical or metaphorical readings of the Quran - often Sufis will read the Quran for its allegorical rather than literal meaning. Such readings conflict with more literal interpretations, such as the way the Wahhabi sect reads the Quran.
2. While in Islam there is belief that Allah alone is God, Sufis take this to an extreme - some Sufis hold that there is nothing and no one apart from God. This means that everyone is God, or that God is in all things (a view called pantheism). In 922 CE a Sufi mystic, al-Hallaj, was executed for proclaiming that he was God.
3. Sufis sometimes undergo practices that are considered heretical in order to find God within. While many Sufis meditate or chant the Quran or the names of Allah, some adopt practices from other cultures. So for example, while singing is discouraged in Islam, Sufis in western India and Pakistan use Quranic verses in songs. This genre of music is called Qawwali. Similarly, some Sufis in India adopted yoga from Hinduism.